9 things you may not know about J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. The Two Towers In light of the September 11 attacks, some fans objected to Peter Jackson using this name, and circulated an Internet petition.
  2. The Beatles. At the urging of John Lennon, the Beatles seriously debated filming a movie based on the Lord of the Rings. Paul would be Frodo, Lennon would be Gollum, George would be Gandalf, and Ringo Starr would be Sam. The Beatles hoped to get Stanley Kubrick as the director. Tolkien didn’t like the idea and killed the project.
  3. Confirmed! LOTR director Peter Jackson confirmed this in a meeting with McCartney at the Oscars. Jackson mused that “there probably would’ve been some good songs coming off the album.”
  4. Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant was a fan of Celtic history and J.R.R. Tolkien, writing references in several songs. In Ramble On, Plant sings: “Twas’ in the darkest depths of Mordor/I met a girl so fair/but Gollum and the Evil One/crept up and slipped away with her.” In Battle of Evermore, Plant sings: “The drums will shake the castle wall/the Ringwraiths ride in black.”
  5. Manuscripts. The original manuscripts of the Lord of the Rings were purchased by William Ready, director of libraries at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Ready realized the value of Tolkien’s work immediately; he purchased the manuscripts for less than $5,000. They now reside at the Marquette Department of Special Collections.
  6. Strider was better. An original manuscript drafted featured a different name for the hero Strider: “Trotter.”
  7. Catholicism. Tolkien was a devout Catholic; he converted C.S. Lewis to Christianity.
  8. Pronunciation. Tolkien’s name is pronounced “toll-keen,” not “tole-kin.”
  9. Norse. Gandalf, the wizard in the Lord of the Rings, is also the name of one of the dwarves in the ancient Nordic work, The Prose Edda.

I found these facts when going through some very old papers, and thought it would be fun to put them on the blog.

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